Nubian Ibex, Capra Nubiana  
     
 

Between 1977 and 1979 a survey was conducted on the status of the Nubiana ibex, Capra ibex nubiana throughout the Sinai peninsula. It was found that the ibex is limited to areas of rugged terrain where competition with Bedouin herds is minimal. Since 1967, enforcement of conservation regulations by Israali authorities resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of ibex, especially in the central and southern parts of the peninsula. Today, the population is estimated at around 300 with 70% within the rugged cliffs and slopes of southern Sinai. Conservation of the Nubian ibex is discussed and possible areas for nature reserves are recommended.

 

Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) is a one of the few species of large mammal species in the Egyptian fauna. The range inhabited by the species in the mountains of Sinai represents an important bridge between its distribution in Asia and Africa. The impact of various environmental factors shaping its distribution were investigated, using distribution modeling methods. Maximum entropy modeling showed that presence of water resources is most influential in the species distribution in south Sinai, followed by slope, habitat, altitude and finally aspect. The current range of the species was estimated as 506 square kilometers in the mountains of south Sinai.

 

Waterholes are a limited resource vital to the conservation of biodiversity in arid ecosystems. Given the rarity of natural waterholes in deserts and their presumed importance to vulnerable Nubian Ibex Capra Nubiana, we examined the influence of landscape characteristics and anthropogenic factors on ibex presence at waterholes. Our results suggest that anthropogenic factors play a larger role in waterhole use than landscape characteristics. Ibex used waterholes regardless of maximum waterhole diameter, maximum water depth or width of the valley in which the waterhole was located. However, ibex were significantly more likely to use waterholes that were far from human dwellings and that had not been visited recently by feral donkeys. Waterhole and ibex conservation will require working with local communities to protect, and ensure sustainable use of, this vital resource.

 

Our data may suggest two mating periods: the first one in autumn (similar to the rut of ibex in temperate mountain areas), with kids born in spring/early summer, after winter–spring rainfall, and the second one in spring, with kids born in late summer/autumn, before winter–spring rainfalls. We suggest that the second rutting period may have evolved as a micro-evolutionary process, with the local population adapting to hyper-arid environment constraints. The spring mating season may favour only females in prime conditions, who can afford a pregnancy in the local severe summers and will deliver kids when plant greening begins, in the autumn, whereas the autumn (original) mating season may be afforded by any female, but kids will be born in an unfavourable period, before the summer drought.

 

They live usually in small troops led by an old male, and march slowly in single file one behind the other. They utter a whistling snort when alarmed and run away, but not very rapidly.

 

Nubian ibex occurs in isolated populations in pockets of the coastal regions of northeastern Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, and the southeastern tip and western portion of the Arabian Peninsula. Nubian ibex inhabit mountainous regions including gorges, outcrops, and scree areas in arid regions with sparse vegetation. They occur at varying elevations, from sea level to 3,000 meters. Generally, Nubian ibex inhabit the most remote, highest, and steepest cliffs. They stand around 60 cm (24 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh around 50 kilograms (110 lb). Nubian Ibexes are a light tan color, with a white underbelly, in males there is also a dark brown stripe down the back and have long thin horns which extend up and then backwards and down. In males these reach around a metre in length while in females they are much smaller (around 30 cm/12 in). Lifespan is about 17 years in captivity and 10-16 years in the wild. The main diet includes herbs, shrubs, tree foliage (especially Acacia), buds, fruits, and occasionally grass.

 

Gestation lasts 5 to 5.5 months, after which the young (usually one, but occasionally two) are born between May and June. Females reach sexual maturity at 2 years, and males at age 3 to 6.

 

 

 

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